The Future Of Professional Speakers And Live Events – #104

What is the future of professional speakers and live events?

The Future Of Professional Speakers And Live Events


What is the future for professional speakers and live events? What are some of the challenges and opportunities in working with speakers with hybrid events? Who are some of the top Singapore keynote speakers? My guest today is Andrew Vine of The Insight Bureau, an agency representing top-level professional speakers, in the area of economics and business, placing speakers and moderators into conferences, client events, and internal company briefings.

In our conversation we talk about his new podcast Honestly Speaking, trends in virtual and hybrid events, incentive meetings in South East Asia, and Andrew’s selection of some of the top Singapore keynote speakers. Enjoy the episode.


In this episode:

  • Podcast For Speakers And Events Professionals
  • Virtual Events
  • Hybrid Events
  • Themes And Trending Topics
  • Top Speakers
  • Speaking Opportunities
  • Live Events


Artificial Intelligence Generated Transcript

Below is a machine-generated transcript and therefore the transcript may contain errors.

The Future Of Professional Speakers And Live Events

James Taylor  0:03  

So Andrew, welcome. How are things over there in sunny Singapore just now?

Andrew Vine 0:08  

Boom, quite fine. Thanks very much, James. Yeah, I mean, life here is, you know, it’s it’s bearable. It’s almost normal. But to be honest, except we can’t go anywhere. That’s the only thing.

James Taylor  0:18  

Now you’ve been very busy apart from running the Bureau, which you wish you have you have, you’ve also started a new show. So tell us about this. Tell us what, what makes you decide to start a show cuz you’re, you’re an author as well, you’re a published author. Write about a lot of these things. So what made you decide to do the show?

Andrew Vine 0:38  

Well, to answer that question, I really have to answer why I wrote the book in the first place. And it was, shockingly, it was five years ago, I wrote this book called honestly speaking. And well, I wrote it, mainly because nobody else had it. It wasn’t designed specifically for speakers. It was really designed for those who are charged with hiring speakers. Because, you know, there are plenty of books around you know, about how to make a million dollars and do the TED talk and all of this. And they’re very useful to have a place but no one had really tackled, you know, something about the mechanics and the, and the motivations and everything else about hiring professional and semi-professional speakers. So I decided to do that. Now fast forward to today, I was considering doing an update, not just because of COVID. But just because time goes by and things change. And I thought, hmm, do I really, really want to do another book? Or do I want to do a new version of it? And I thought you know what? a podcast will be so much more interesting. Why don’t you want to interact with why – The Future Of Professional Speakers And Live Events

James Taylor  1:42  

that format? Because I noticed a decision. Lots of people are doing content, whether it’s corporate content, or individuals and thought leaders, they decide, okay, do I want to make it an audio long-form audio podcast? Do I want to do shorter videos? Do I want to maybe record both? And then put on both places? Or what was the format you eventually decided upon?

Podcast For Speakers And Events Professionals

Andrew Vine 2:06  

I’ve just woken up to the fact of just how popular podcasts are. And you know, it’s the kind of thing that doesn’t take very much, you know, listen in the car or go for a walk or if you’re on a plane. Remember those planes? Yeah. But yes, I think it’s just a format, I think it is becoming quite popular. Video is nice, but it’s a little bit more involved. So it’s actually, you know, so long as you’ve got the right equipment. For audio, I think it’s quite easy to do, too. And it’s good for it to be easy to edit. But you know, at the end of the day, you know, why not publish more? Well, you know, I just thought that it was a much more interesting, dynamic way of doing things. And with so much changing around the world at the moment, I felt that we needed a much more Agile Platform. – The Future Of Professional Speakers And Live Events

James Taylor  2:53  

So certainly it seems to be there’s a lot of crossover between people that listened to, to radio people listened to podcasts, long-form podcasts are people that read books, there seems to be there’s quite a strong correlation when I talk to a lot of book publishers. So in coming to this side of the, the this audio format, and the you when you record your interviews, though, you’re recording just audio do you put the camera on? Do you always just focus on the audio because I know different podcasters have different feelings about whether they should have even video on even if it’s primarily as an audio podcast?

Andrew Vine 3:26  

Well, I actually use a software called swap cost. And it does have the video function. And I think they’re perhaps going to offer both. But the idea is that that is optimized for audio. So it really is designed for audio. So you know, that’s, that’s, that’s why I do that. – The Future Of Professional Speakers And Live Events

James Taylor  3:45  

So that I guess with audio you can sometimes have it’s a funny one, really. I mean, I think things are changing now because people are getting much more comfortable being on video and zoom calls and all that stuff. But it certainly I remember when I started doing podcasting, people, you can definitely get deeper into a conversation with someone if it was audio-only. I had a lot of people kind of doing once we have a video on just kind of constantly looking at the video looking at the camera, like where should I be looking and you kind of felt like there was a little bit of a barrier, you had to work a little bit harder. I guess that’s one of the nice things about just going primarily audio thinking primarily audio is you can just have those kinds of longer conversations.

Andrew Vine 4:27  

But you know, what’s interesting is that sometimes you have to work harder, the less kind of cues you’ve got. So when it’s audio, you’ve only got audio. When you’ve got video, at least it’s not the same as being in person. You and I’ve been talking about this a lot in terms of speech, speaking, but at least you have some visual cues and you’ve got eye movement and you’ve got, you know, a few gestures. But when it’s audio, it’s really quite critical that you’re conveying your information in an interesting way in a way that actually gets the information across. So I think it’s a little unforgiving in some ways, but in some ways, but it’s quite convinced it’s quite forgiving in others. 

– The Future Of Professional Speakers And Live Events

James Taylor  5:07  

Yeah, it’ll be interesting to see how during the period of the pandemic, it’s been obviously podcasting still continuing to grow. And there’s been lots of new players like Spotify investing a lot of money, because they realize that their business model for music, you know, financially, the margins are very thin. But if you can start adding advertising now into audio podcasts, it suddenly becomes an advertising platform and audio based advertising platform opens up a lot more profitability for him. So I can see, now they’re making a lot of investments in, in, in audio, in podcasts, with something I heard the other day, I don’t know if you’ve heard this, but because people aren’t commuting as much. They said that it’s actually been a little bit more challenging than they thought podcasts would go faster. But actually, the beans are still growing, but not as fast and what they think could happen. And we only could happen if once people start going on they’re driving to their office every day or commuting to their office is going to take off even faster. Because people got that 30 minutes back.

Andrew Vine 6:09  

Yeah, I think it was pre COVID that I heard these amazing statistics about podcasts. So that really did capture my imagination. But uh, you know, it is quite agile as well. I mean, you know, there’s I, I can’t tell you necessarily what’s going to be the next episode. You know, I have a number of ideas and, and topics I know I need to cover and some individuals that I want to interview, but I can change the topic around and respond. The other day, I just went out and asked people some questions about you know, how, how do you, you know, what questions would you like answered, from my perspective about how we’re dealing with COVID-19, I felt that the time was ripe to do that. And some other bright ideas, well, they can kind of wait, and if something happens, well, then we can respond again. So I think it is a nice, Agile Platform to use. – The Future Of Professional Speakers And Live Events

James Taylor  6:56  

Now, as an author, you’re often told, you know, to write for your ideal reader and have your ideal reader in mind. And if you’re if it’s not you, who is your ideal listening to this show? Is it someone who is maybe a speaker, an aspiring professional speaker? Or is it an event professional, with like, maybe an events company, or maybe someone within the corporate world who does one or two conferences a year?

Andrew Vine 7:18  

I know the audience here are speakers. But actually, it’s not primarily targeted at speakers, I think it’s, it’s the same thing with a book or plenty of speakers that were very, very interested to read it and read it from that point of view. But it is designed for those people who find themselves responsible for creating a significant event or agenda. And you know, the best will in the world. Most people don’t actually have very much experience. And I don’t mean that as a criticism in any way. But you know, unless you’re a conference manager, and you wake up every morning, and you have your breakfast and think about events all day long. it’s one of these things that kind of comes along, and it’s in the whole spectrum of various things you have to do. So let’s say a marketing communications manager, I mean, just events is anyone little sliver of what you do in your job. It could be that your line manager, you know, your business unit head, and it’s the annual conference for your team or on an off-site meeting, it could be in the leadership and the HR sector as well. So when you break it all down, there are actually lots of different pockets of people who at some stage or another, are responsible for this activity yet, two things. A, it doesn’t come around very often so people don’t have the practice at it. And secondly, actually, our industry Jas is quite an opaque and tricky, tricky one. To be honest, I think, you know, as one of the people who reviewed my book said, Thank God, someone lifted the lid on this, this industry, which you know, is a little bit hard. And, you know, I joke and say, you know, I’ll take you on a journey into the sometimes mysterious, often baffling, and occasionally notorious world of professional speaking. And it gets a few laughs But you know what it is like that it is quite misunderstood. – The Future Of Professional Speakers And Live Events

James Taylor  9:05  

So suddenly, so your ideal listener is maybe someone that’s working at one of those, maybe a multinational company, they’re a part of their brief is to do events. It could be from a marketing function, or maybe the leader of their division, and so that’s their thing. So in terms of when it comes to the content for your show, are you going to be primarily focused on bringing in guests and talking about things which are theme related to give them inspiration and ideas, potential themes for their conference, and maybe even speakers like that in that way for their conference? Or maybe you’re going to focus more on the event design, or the technology or the trends?

Andrew Vine 9:41  

What was what you’re interested in talking about on the show? Well, there are three types of episodes that will come through one will be a monologue from me. And that’s a chance for me to kind of bring to life some of the things that obviously I’ve been thinking about and I deal with on a daily basis related to the world of events. speakers. So more monologue. Yes, inviting interesting guests, this gives me an opportunity to bring three types of people together really, it could be speakers, as you say, to get the perspective from them. And I did one just recently, one of the one of the first four I did, so I’ve done one of each format so far. And the other one would be to find people from within the industry, because everyone’s got their niche, you know, I’m a speaker, bureau guy, right. And so somebody else will be an expert in the area of events and event marketing, and, and so on. So we will have the chance, hopefully, to get a little bit deeper into areas where I don’t necessarily have the expertise. And that’s the whole point. – The Future Of Professional Speakers And Live Events

Virtual Events

James Taylor  10:42  

Yeah, I mean, as you get further into this world, I’m technically on stage just now as we’re recording there. So those pre-record for my client, Cisco, and it’s fascinating when you start working with different people, and there’s, there are graphic designers of a design of the actual physical virtual space. So there’s that there are experiential design people. There are the video editors that that that side of things, there are, the people are dealing with a client more on the client-side thinking about the way the agenda is, there are the technical people, for the people that are coming in live,

Andrew Vine 11:16  

there’s a lot of people. And so that system isn’t it, it really is. And I you know, to be, let’s just gonna say to be clear, I mean, I’m really only an expert, if you like in one area, and that’s where the speakers in the agenda kind of make me meet. And I think generally when you think about agencies, you know, a lot of people initially feel that you know, there’s, it’s a matching service. I don’t agree with that. I think it’s much more than that. Because you even just when you’re thinking about the agenda, it is about the fit is about thinking about who the audience is, what the objectives are, how you’re going to deal with it, it traditionally doesn’t encompass things like the look and feel and the delivery side, because normally, in the good old days, people turned up the night before they do to, you know, went to the stage and did a quick soundcheck. And off they went. Now, of course, in the world of virtual events, the technology is a little trickier. And we have to kind of think about that in advance, we have to incorporate that too. So that’s why I’m going to be quite interested to bring in some experts in that area as well. – The Future Of Professional Speakers And Live Events

James Taylor  12:25  

There’s also an interesting role I see with the role of the Speaker Bureau, almost like a helping with the curation of a series of events where it used to be the case that maybe, let’s say, a client there, they had their one big event of the year, it would happen over two days, let’s say it would have an opening keynote speaker and a closing speaker and something like you’d be brought in to find those ones, one or two other speakers. And there seems to be a lot of clients. Now they’re saying they want almost I think instead of going from a film going to episodic, where they want something once a month, and they want a series. And then I saw some of the clients that you work with whether you’ve seen that, and then what are the implications in terms of budget? And what are the implications in terms of helping to work with that client to maybe almost like programming their season of their speakers over the course of six months or a year?

Andrew Vine 13:18  

Yeah, I think you’re right. I think traditionally, you know, it’s been a little bit mixed in terms of the degree to which clients let you into their plans. I mean, it can all be a little bit too transactional for my liking. It’s like we work, you know, you only get to talk about that specific session, and this is the speaker kind of person we need for this agenda. Who would you recommend? And let’s make that work. And sometimes it’s quite challenging, because you don’t really understand the whole context of what they’re doing. You’re right now, I think there’s a lot of chunking down in terms of events, because, you know, first of all, pretty much gone to the two-day events. I mean, how can you do that? I mean, it’s a real challenge to keep people’s tension. And so one way of chunking it down, even if you’re talking about, you know, one particular week is to spread it out and do a couple of hours each day. That’s one possibility. And I see a lot of clients do that. And then you have to really quite consider how one day flows into the next. It’s not just like one, one, the morning flows into the afternoon. And then you have to cross a day and another day and maybe even another day after that. As far as the series goes, yes, I am working. You know, the difficulty is predicting, you know, what’s going to happen in the future. But yes, we are working with clients now on a series of things that are spanning between now and September, so three or four events over time. Partly, that’s because they want to break down what could have been one big conference into different themes that they can tackle for their leadership team or for their clients. For example, Or it could be because of the audiences, and this is especially true in Asia, where the audiences are quite different. And so, you know, brings, you know, I’m doing something for an investment bank right now. And they’ve got one for their Singapore client group and another one for their Thai group. And there are reasons for that, because, you know, they will, you know, partly, they will actually be able to get groups of people in smallish numbers together in certain locations. And so, although it’s virtual, it’s not like everybody is remotely tuning in, they’re going to have pockets of people together and having the people together, you know, from one, one venue kind of bits of help. So if there’s a way of chucking it down geographically as well.

– The Future Of Professional Speakers And Live Events

James Taylor  15:45  

Now, Singapore, you’re based in Singapore or the US service clients globally? What do you have a sense of like, Singapore was always one of those great hub cities in the world, wherein Asia, he could bring together people from lots of different parts from, let’s say, your organization from the the Beijing office in Hong Kong and Tokyo office in Singapore and Bangkok, and you bring them all together in that one place, with COVID. Obviously, that’s not possible. As we start to kind of move into this, hopefully, things start to open up. I’m interested in where do you have a sense of where we’re going, especially now we’re moving from not just in face to face? And into virtual, but now to hybrid as well?

Hybrid Events

Andrew Vine 16:30  

Well, you know, there’s, there’s a big question mark, I think over hybrid, it sounds great, doesn’t it? Because you can perhaps get the best of both worlds, when you’ve got to be careful as you don’t get the worst of both, right? Because it is quite tricky. You know, you’ve got two different platforms, two different audiences, really, the way an audience will listen to you as a speaker lives in the ballroom is quite different. When you’re, you know, a long way away sitting, you know, at your desk at home, say in another place. So I think it’s tricky. But, you know, the problem is going to be as I see it, the world will not recover in a nice, symmetrical, coordinated fashion, you’re going to get some places that are and simply places that are not. Now it’s all very well Singapore, for example, use that example, you may very well Singapore, you know, being ahead of the game and having everyone vaccinated and having no cases of COVID. But we’re too small, we can’t survive on our own. And the whole point is, every time you do a conference, everyone’s coming from Malaysia, or Thailand and Indonesia, if not further afield, Hong Kong and China and Japan and everywhere, right. So, you know, it’s going to be really hard, you know, we’re going to go as fast as the slowest denominator. And so the answer is, perhaps, do what you can.

So even if there are travel bubbles between Hong Kong and Singapore, that’s what they’re talking about right now. And you’ll find these bubbles around the world. Yes, you’ll get a critical mass, perhaps locally. And so you go right, at least we can do the right thing by our audience here. And for speakers, this is really important, because it’s not just about, you know, are you able to as an organizer, massage or your customer base, you always want to have the dynamics of the meeting being what they’re supposed to be. I mean, it’s really hard for speakers at the moment to be presenting into like an empty box, you know, just, you know, talking into an image to an invisible audience not getting any feedback, you know, from, you know, and then laughs and no chuckles No, no nodding off in the back row, whatever it is, you know, you just don’t get any of those gayness payments, you must be very, you know, you don’t get the sense of energy as a speaker, when you’re doing that, I like to joke and say, it’s like being a football or playing in an empty stadium. You know, it’s, it’s just so if you can create both the nice dynamics for speakers and the audience that have people around, you have that buzz, even if there are some rules, then I think people are really now ready to put the extra effort in to make some kind of real event work, and that there are limits to that. And you have to bring some speakers in from the outside and then expand what you’re doing to a wider audience that can’t come. That’s a hybrid, and we’ve got to work really hard at it. And I think it’s going to be a bit tricky. But that might in for the rest of this year, be perhaps the best way to do larger-scale events, – The Future Of Professional Speakers And Live Events

James Taylor  19:26  

almost looking like regionalization, for the rest of this year, where you have, I suddenly hear that from a lot of my mainland kind of continental European clients where they’re just saying, we’re just going to have something in Berlin, because this allows everyone to travel by public transport, you know, there, which is another sustainability piece as well. But then the American colleagues are going to just have to watch virtually as well.

Andrew Vine 19:51  

Yeah. And you know, the worst-case scenario is that you have a real event and then you broadcast it like a piece of TV to another order. And it’s not the same, but at least you able to expand, and some of the stickiness that we think that things that we’re doing differently today that might carry over once we’ve gone over this and come away from this crisis, we might find that that kind of broadcast element to expand, the reach to people who just cannot come is a really great asset. So long as we don’t make it so easy that people say, Oh, I won’t bother going and traveling to this event, because I know I can just access it remotely. In a way maybe the event industry and the people running meetings, have to be savvy about this as well. And think, you know, how easy do we want to make people think that they can just attend remotely, I think when we can bring people together, maybe we will actually have to do something to really encourage them initially because I think people might be a little hesitant to start with, well, it’s gonna be really interesting to see, nobody knows.

James Taylor  20:58  

And it’s interesting as well, where I see some of the events industry starting to learn from the world of education because they’ve gone through this and in different ways, a different type of audience. But I’m certainly finding kind of going from moving from lifelike in person face to face, then moving to virtual, then moving to a hybrid now, and actually, now that I’m actually starting to use the term hyperflex, which is where you have people who are synchronous watching in the room with you, there are people who are synchronous watching virtually somewhere. But you’re also creating the content within the mind knowing that this content is going to be used asynchronously, either because people are in different time zones, or they’re choosing their own adventure as they’re going through a particular conference. So as a speaker, I’m starting to think about what you do, and some of the things are just basic. Like, if you’ve done a cat, or something on TV before, or you do events, as you know, I was in the music industry originally. So if when you’re filming a live concert-like performance, the artist is always asking things like, well, what’s my close-up camera? What’s my wide shot? What’s my that so they’re understanding where the cameras are at different places. So when they’re doing it for the audience, but they’re also making sure that they’re making certain eye contact with certain cameras at certain points when they want to lift something or when they want to go, Okay, this is the section where I got really quiet. I want people just to pause for a second. And that’s this time I want those closing zooming shots coming up. And when I’m doing this thing, when I’m coming out, this is when we need the wide shot, for example. So is now as a speaker, you’re almost starting to act like a TV. – The Future Of Professional Speakers And Live Events

Andrew Vine 22:47  

Yes. And not everyone’s gonna be as clever as you are James, you know, I think No, I think you

James Taylor  22:53  

told me about some of the stuff was a Singapore speaker, Ron Kaufman.

Andrew Vine 22:57  

Oh, yes. He was like one of the first

James Taylor  22:59  

speakers in the business that said to me, if your thing if you notice being filmed, you go and have a director and you ask them, What is my close upshot? What is my main establishing shot? What is my left shot that I can go into if I do those kinds of soliloquy bits?

Andrew Vine 23:15  

And this is what I was going to say, you know, I think what you’re going to need to find is that the event management side of things, maybe a professional event management team, but their job is going to change they need to go and get trained in how to run a TV show. Because if it’s not virtual, it’s going to be hybrid. And if it’s not hybrid, well, I still believe we’re going to have cameras around. And I think there’s going to be the opportunity now we’ve learned this technology to do much more 10 polling with events so that there are interesting things we can do before and very interesting things we can do after the event, and that will utilize some of this great technology that we’ve got. So I think there’s a really good skill that event management companies need to take on board think the mindset has to be Is this a bit of a show? This is TV? Yeah. The other thing I would also add is that it does depend a lot on what type of event this is. And you made the reference to people in the training world as well. So I think training and he was the education, you said, education training, the more things are like that they you know, first of all, that is a lot more forgiving. I think if you don’t quite get you to know, your stagecraft Wharf or whatever you now call it web craft, you know, whatever it is zoom, zoom graph, yes. If you don’t quite have it, nobody really minds, because you’re really here for the content. You know, it’s just like, give me the economic analysis. Tell me how to do this stuff. Run me through this exercise. And that’s all you need to do. But the more you’re actually there to be part of an experience and you’re there to be the, you know, the to not just inform, but to engage, inspire and then influence your audience. And that’s the aspiration. Thing little speakers want to go that kind of ladder they want to climb. And it’s, it’s quite hard to do on a virtual format, you have to try hard at it, some people will do it very naturally, some people are gonna have to work hard at it. And I think, in tandem, you know, we’ve seen some events, virtual events did not work very well. And I’m afraid to say it’s because the event management or the studio people weren’t up to the job, they were not, they were professional at what they used to do. And it’s taking a little time to learn the tricks to do it on what is actually a different type of platform. – The Future Of Professional Speakers And Live Events

James Taylor  25:38  

And it’s funny, as a speaker, that when you go and do a face to face event, as a speaker can normally tell within the first few seconds, where the gigs going to be okay, once you meet the production team, there’s, there’s something about when you were really good production people, I don’t know if it’s, it’s just there’s a touch, it’s difficult to explain sometimes, but there’s a way of acting and you just get a sense, we’re going to be good here, this is gonna be fun, this is going to be a really good thing, all the

Andrew Vine 26:07  

energy and

James Taylor  26:08  

energy, there’s this type of thing. And we’ve all had those experiences where you go to an event, and no one looks up from their boards, everyone’s got their head down, you know, there’s no eye contact, there’s no connection. And those are the hard ones. And you can also get that virtual, virtually as well. And you’re looking at listening for those little things people say, you go Okay, is this gonna be a fun gig? Was this gonna be more challenging? So we’ve spoken about the technical side a little bit. Let’s talk about the topical. What topics or themes? Are you noticing what your clients are asking for? We’ve gone through this time of, you know, maybe six months ago, a lot of people talk about working or working from home, you know, how do we get people working from home or resilience, or what you’ve seen just now?

Themes And Topics

Andrew Vine 26:55  

Well, I think the way to think about what topics are likely to come up is like, what problems are we supposed to be solving? You know, this is what is ultimately about? So we have plenty of economic problems, you know, so economics doesn’t go out of fashion. And we work with quite a lot of people, you know, I used to work for the economist, so I have that kind of, as well. I’m like, you know, that topic. And so geopolitics. Economics is really in vogue. But when you talk about you know, the problems that companies are facing one, one problem they’re facing is how do we engage our people? Now, you know, I, I think that remote working has worked better than we might have expected at some stage. But that’s probably because we didn’t start off working virtually, we had been together in teams, we were used to each other, we had connections, and we then just took them remotely, what companies are finding quite hard, and quite difficult, I think, is where you’ve got, you know, different teams having to work together that haven’t met before. And so a lot of speakers who are talking about how to make connections and how to work technology, how the human interaction with technology really works. That’s one area. I think, also, you know, the technology of courses has, has really kind of saved the day, or rather, we always had it, but we never chose to use it in the same way. But now we feel that the future has kind of been accelerated towards us a lot faster. And so anything about the future, the future of anything, not just the future of work, but the future of trade, the future of anything, I think there’s a stronger than even before sense that we don’t need to hear about yesterday, we don’t need to hear about today, we need to hear about what’s coming down the line, we need to anticipate, we realize we need to anticipate so much more. So that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve got to be a future store futurologist or whatever you want to call yourself, there’s always a time and a place for them. But I think the most valuable people in the world are the people who can tell you what the near future is going to be like. And if you think about different industries that you might work in, always, you know, you need to come to I think audiences with a sense of what’s next, and have some, you know, good stories and some good examples to back those up. So yeah, they’re, I would say they’re the key things and also how to lead in an environment which is obviously different. So the whole, you know, the topic around how leaders lead in different circumstances. I mean, once upon a time, you know, you know, to be a good leader, you just needed to be strong and resolved and follow me, you know, and now it’s quite different. It’s like saying, No, you know, nobody knows, this is all new. We’re in this together. And so the kind of pyramid is much flatter and how do you manage with that? How do you manage with people around you as instead of underneath you, I mean, all these kinds of topics, I think are the things that the present environment is really kind of accelerated forward. That’s – The Future Of Professional Speakers And Live Events

James Taylor  29:55  

now you work with a lot of great speakers as you mentioned economists. People are at the top of their access list and we’ll take it locally and then what will broaden out? So in Singapore, I’m always amazed. It seems to me that this small country of Singapore has the highest percentage of speakers. It is quite incredible. So in the country of Singapore, who are those kinds of top speakers? Maybe if someone’s listening to us for the first time that they don’t know that market, maybe they are very professional, maybe they’re doing an event in Singapore, where they can only hire someone that’s in the country at this point? Who are the top speakers at the moment in your market?

Top Speakers

Andrew Vine 30:42  

Well, there’s a good friend of ours, Frederick Heron, I think, who’s who’s one of them, he just happens to be here. And you know, that’s a great thing for if you happen to be here with a local audience. You’re talking about creativity and human innovation right now, you know, his his angle on that is, of course, that there’s never been a more challenging time. And if you’re not prepared to be, you know, flexible and, and curious and agile, you’re probably not going to succeed. As you say, yes, there. There are economists that we work with the global global chief economist at the EIU, the Economist Intelligence Unit sits here, you know, and and that’s been quite a good thing, too. You mentioned Ron Kaufman, you know, who better to talk about customer service around the world, and he happens to be here, you know, but I think they know, and, you know, geopolitics, and I work with Parag Khanna, who, you know, is, you know, he’s, he’s, I won’t tell you his age, but it’s it’s quite refreshing that you don’t have, you know, a gray haired Anglo Saxon speaker yet again, talking about world economics and geopolitics and in it, and he is a Singaporean, he lives here. And, you know, I think that it’s waking people up to the fact that actually, let’s try and use some local talents. Now, that’s nothing special about Singapore, I think, right? Now, this is a great opportunity to really kind of say, do you really need to get speakers from across the other side of the world? Let’s just take a look, who have we got in the UK? You know, UK is quite a mature market, it’s quite saturated, actually. But, you know, flying across to America is going to be problematic for the rest of this year. I think, you know, it looks like it might be okay, but not really sure, are we? And so I think it’s forcing people to say, you know, who who can we find who are, you know, just as good. You know, just because someone comes from America, or just because they come from England, doesn’t mean to say they’re going to be a better speaker than we can source locally. The only angle I would say that is frustrating to me as well is I would love to be working with more Asian speakers. And somehow it’s been slower for for a larger number of Asian speakers to really make it perhaps in that kind of top level speaker. – The Future Of Professional Speakers And Live Events

James Taylor  33:00  

Grow. Why’d you say why do you think that? I’m

Andrew Vine 33:02  

gonna say Don’t ask me why

James Taylor  33:06  

isn’t because because I can I can imagine if I had the same similar conversation with the Bureau in Dubai, they would be saying something similar about this. There’s some really good speakers in the Middle East as well. But in terms of having broken internationally, it’s kind of I mean, I think you’ve got in is interesting in Malaysia, is I don’t know him personally, but it’s not. So it’s not really a business. keynote speaker is more in the personal development world. But vision is it like Arnie from mine Valley, who has done a really good job of setting to really break into the US market, but I know what you mean is, so maybe someone can let us know, what they think was the secret of that one?

Speaking Opportunities

Andrew Vine 33:52  

Yes. Well, I’ve been saying the same thing for over a decade. And I think it is definitely improving. But I think, you know, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be looking more locally at people who have gotten great insights, so long as they have the tools. And this is where, you know, what you do in terms of helping speakers improve themselves? I think, you know, there’s a great scope there for people who have got essentially what it takes, you know, and just a recap on that quickly, you know, yes, you’ve got to know your staff. And yes, you’ve got to be a good communicator. The communication side is one I think, is linked to confidence as well, which might be something that, you know, Americans and British seem to be so much happier to, to speak than perhaps Japanese and careers. I noticed the stereotypical but I mean, that’s the kind of world that we do face. But I mean, if you it’s also about understanding who your audience is, and making sure that you can talk in a way which is authentic and commands authority. And you know, and you isolate the things that really matter that are somewhat you in terms of providing insights that are going to be great takeaways, and, and things that are memorable. So you combine all of that together, it is a bit of a skill and it can be learned. Some people are naturally better at it than others. But I think there’s no reason why people who have got something really worth sharing can’t up their game and play in this play playing this game. absolutely – The Future Of Professional Speakers And Live Events

James Taylor  35:27  

essential when I’ve coached a number of speakers from ASAP Southeast Asia particularly. And you have conversations and sometimes it’s just, it’s just to widen the lens a little bit in terms of opportunities, because they’ve in Singapore, they’re very focused on the Singapore market, and they’re all competing with other Singaporean or Singaporean best speakers. And so okay, what if that wasn’t just your focus? What if you open this out, and managed by Sue Devine, who I know, I don’t know, she’s actually based in Singapore. But he is. That’s another time I met him, I was a great speaker. And he often talks about the alien advantage where sometimes you’re more valued somewhere else, not the country that you’re from, as well. So I wonder if there’s, there’s a little bit of that, and just getting some speakers just to open up there. It is a big word, obviously difficult just now with the pandemic but we’re going to hopefully see things around. – The Future Of Professional Speakers And Live Events

Andrew Vine 36:20  

I think there’s times where people need to dive deep into a particular country, or culture or industry or whatever, then you do need that deep dive. But I would say on the whole, most of the speakers that we’re working for, with Really do come with a global perspective. So that, you know, once you’ve got a global perspective, and you can join the dots, effectively, I think that’s really a very valuable thing. So sometimes it’s harder to be broader, and to still speak with greater authority. So, you know, if you’re a global economist, and you can pull all these pieces together, that’s something sometimes rarer than someone who just knows China, or just knows India, for example. So it’s tricky. I, you know, it’s, but I do think, you know, perspective, as you rightly said, is important, and being able to relate to a wide audience. That’s also a trick, and especially when you have quite a diverse audience. And that’s what you have in Asia, of course, you have people as, as different from you know, Chinese, Japanese, Thai to Indonesia. I mean, it’s really quite a diverse group more diverse than perhaps, within Europe. – The Future Of Professional Speakers And Live Events

Andrew Vine 37:30  


In-person Events

James Taylor  37:31  

I can’t just say I’m just reminded there’s a zig ziglar quote, which goes something like, rather than being a walking generality, it’s better to be something specificity, I think, powerful specificity or so it was something like there’s a really wonderful quote. So the final kind of question I had for you. I know one of the things in the especially the Southeast Asia market is these kind of, I guess they they can a mix between incentive trips, and con little mini conferences, which I’ve certainly done a lot of them where a client global client is saying, okay, we’re going to bring our top executives to Phuket for a week with their partners, or some other really, you’ve got so many wonderful resorts in Southeast Asia. What’s happening with that? Are you getting a sense of that stuff? Because I would imagine you missed this whole season in the winter that we’ve just gone through, are you seeing that start to weaken up again for this coming winter? – The Future Of Professional Speakers And Live Events

Andrew Vine 38:23  

Not yet. Not yet. Now, I think incentive type meetings have pretty much not been on the cards. You know, I know, I think if you’re running conferences, you have immediately had no choice, but to go to them and just do whatever you are going to do and find some way of effectively doing it virtually. Because that’s your business, you know, if you don’t do this, it’s a smaller, lower margin of business as it is, and then all of a sudden, you don’t do something for six months, you’re dead, right? So they’ve had no choice. But a lot of organizations, corporates in particular, just said, Look, we just don’t need to do this. So quickly. We can afford to wait for that client event. Yeah, do it in six months time. Of course, our horizon kept moving, right. So, you know, we thought it was only going to be a few months, and it became a year that’s looking at 18 months, and then hey, before we know, it would be in 2022. And I think, you know, to kind of catch up, people are now saying enough, we must do something, therefore it’s going to have to be virtual. But it’s also about risk taking, you know, I think corporations have been quite cautious. You know, first of all, they do want to look after their own people. But can you imagine the fallout if you suddenly took your clients to a super spreader event, you know, it’s just not worth it. And so I think the caution on doing things like incentive meetings and customer events, I think it’s naturally cautious and that’s why I’m slightly pessimistic about how fast things will bounce back. And why I think, you know, local pockets are fine, because it’s all only about distancing. And then the hybrid thing seems to be a very good fix for that reason. But I, you know, I must say, James, that it’s not a majority of people who really look forward to getting back to real events. It’s every single person I will ever talk to. There’s not one person who said, Oh, I’m done with live events, I never want to do them again. I just don’t, I just, it’s just not in our human nature is, you know, we were born and brought onto this earth to do so much more to talk and debate and interact and to eat together and laugh. And, you know, it’s about being human, that humanity has to be put back into this event business sooner, the better. – The Future Of Professional Speakers And Live Events

James Taylor  40:44  

While I’m already hearing certain events, organizers have other people that book venues specifically for events, saying they’re actually having, they’re struggling now to book venues that conference venues in certain big cities in Europe in the spring, the spring of 2022 onwards, because everyone in the world is going to want to is wanting to travel, it’s going to want to go on holiday again. And then you’ve got a limited amount of capacity, obviously, as well. So be very interested to see how things started to open up in different parts of Andrew wonderful. As always having a conversation, thank you so much for taking this time just to give us a little insight of what’s been going on where you see things going, where is the best place for people to go to listen to the podcast and to explore everything that the insight Bureau is doing just now. – The Future Of Professional Speakers And Live Events

Andrew Vine 41:32   

Well, the podcast should be something you can find on Apple Podcasts and Spotify and everywhere really if you search but if you go to that will take you straight to the archive and you’ll be able to pick off all the episodes that are there. – The Future Of Professional Speakers And Live Events

James Taylor  41:54  

Well, Andrew, thank you so much for coming on the show today.

Andrew Vine 41:57  

Real pleasure. Thanks, James. All the best

– The Future Of Professional Speakers And Live Events